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Fir'im is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic فرعم
Also spelled Feram[1]
Subdistrict Safad
Coordinates 32°59′06.51″N 35°31′58.75″E / 32.9851417°N 35.5329861°E / 32.9851417; 35.5329861Coordinates: 32°59′06.51″N 35°31′58.75″E / 32.9851417°N 35.5329861°E / 32.9851417; 35.5329861
Population 740[2] (1945)
Area 2,023[2] dunams
Date of depopulation May 26, 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces

Fir'im (Arabic: فرعم ‎) was a Palestinian Arab village in the Safad Subdistrict that was depopulated during the 1948 Palestine war. It was first attacked during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on May 2, 1948, by the Palmach's First Battalion during Operation Yiftach. In 1945 the population had been 740.


Fir'im was located 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) northeast of Safad. It was situated on the southeastern slope of Mount Kan’an, and overlooked land between Lake Tiberias and Lake Hula.[4]


An archaeological site near Fir’im contained the ruins of buildings and rock-hewn tombs.[4] In the late 19th century, remains of ancient structures built into the modern buildings were observed.[5]

According to HaReuveni, Jews also lived in Fir'im in the 16th century, and the son of Rabbi Yom Tov Tzahalon died there.[6] However, a census by the Ottomans in 1596 registered the villagers as all Muslim. According to that daftar, Fir’im belonged to the nahiya (subdistrict) of Jira, (liwa' (district) of Safad) and had a recorded population of 446. The economy was based on agriculture and villagers paid taxes on wheat, barley, olives, goats, beehives, and a press that was used for processing either olives or grapes.[7]

In the late nineteenth century, Fir'im was described as a stone-built village, situated at the end of a ridge. The villagers, who were Muslim, numbered about 200 and cultivated olives and figs.[8]

Most of the stone houses in the village were densely situated in a northwest—southeast order.[4] The village had a village council, and an elementary school for boys.[4]

The village economy was based on agriculture; fruit was the main crop, followed by grain. The village also had two olive presses.[4] In the 1942/43 season, 700 dunams (0.70 km2; 0.27 sq mi) of village land were allocated to olive trees. In 1944/45 the same amount was allocated to cereal farming, while 935 dunams (0.935 km2; 0.361 sq mi) were used for plantations or were irrigated.[4][9]

1948, and aftermath[edit]

The village was attacked by forces from the Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah on the night of 2 May 1948. The attack, called Operation Yiftach, was led by Yigal Allon. In the operation, the villages of 'Ein al Zeitun and Biriyya were conquered, while the villages of Fir'im, Qabba'a and Mughr al-Khayt were intimidated with mortar barrages, which precipitated mass evacuation.[10] However, the villagers soon began to return, only to find that Fir'im was torched by Palmach forces on the 22nd May.[11] During late May it was reported that hungry refugees once again began to drift back to their old villages, including Fir'im. Mainly the villagers tried to harvest their crops, and many erected temporary shelters outside their old villages from where they could reach their crops and were relatively inaccessible to Israeli troops.[12] The Haganah acted to curb this, and on the 24th May, they started the "systematic torching of the villages of the Hula [Valley].[13]

By late June 1948, Israeli military intelligence reported (somewhat inaccurately, according to Morris), that "All the Arab villages in the Safad area as far [northwestward] as Sasa were empty".[14]

Today the settle­ment of Hatzor HaGlilit (Chatzor ha-Gelilit), established in 1953, is situated about 1 kilometer southeast of where the village stood.[4] The tomb of Honi HaM'agel is located in the vicinity.

The Palestinian Historian Walid Khalidi described the village site in 1992: "The rubble of destroyed village houses is scattered across the site. Some terraces with olive trees remain. Olive trees and cactuses grow on the site and the surrounding lands. Some small portions of these lands are wooded but most are used for pasture."[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.197
  2. ^ a b Hadawi, 1970, p.69
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvi, village #51. Also gives cause of depopulation
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Khalidi, 1992, p.450
  5. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.222
  6. ^ HaReuveni (1999), p. 327
  7. ^ Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter and Kamal Abdulfattah (1977), Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. p. 179. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 450
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.197-p.198. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 450.
  9. ^ Hadawi, 1970, p.118
  10. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 249, note 693
  11. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 251, note 710
  12. ^ Morris, 2004, p.252, note 712. The other villages mentioned are Al-Muftakhira, Al-Hamra', Al-Zuq al-Tahtani, Al-Salihiyya and Al-'Abisiyya.
  13. ^ Morris, 2004, p.251-2, note 713
  14. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 252, note 714
  15. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 450-451


External links[edit]